Baby's father, charged with murder, upset by relocation plan
Published August 29, 2009 by Post Tribune
GARY, INDIANA -- Distraught because his 19-month-old daughter might move with her mother to Texas, Cordell Richardson took the girl and, according to police, said "nobody was going to take his daughter away" before shooting and killing her.
Richardson, 22, is charged with murder in the death of the girl, Eboni Richardson. Police said he shot her in downtown Gary on Thursday just as he was expected to turn her over to her uncle. Then he shot himself in the head.
A Methodist Hospitals spokeswoman declined to release information about Richardson's condition Friday afternoon at its Merrillville campus where he's hospitalized. He faces a maximum of 65 years in prison if convicted. The Lake County Prosecutor's Office said he is to be held in the county jail without bond.
In a charging affidavit filed in Lake County Superior Court on Friday, Gary police describe a frantic attempt by friends and family to return the girl to her mother, Shaina Hill, hours before the shooting.
Hill, of Gary, told police she gave Richardson permission to take the child, according to the affidavit.
However, Cpl. Gabrielle King said Richardson called her at 4 p.m. Thursday and said she would never see Eboni again if she didn't meet him at his house by 4:30 p.m.
She arrived with police, according to reports, but Richardson wasn't there. Richardson then called Hill and refused to return Eboni.
Hill went to the home of Jamell Campbell, Richardson's brother-in-law, and told him Richardson was refusing to give Eboni back. Campbell told police he called Richardson, who told him he didn't want to lose his daughter.
Campbell called Jerry Wheeler, Richardson's friend, and Thomas Murray, Richardson's brother. Wheeler said Richardson called him and said he had kidnapped Eboni, according to court documents.
After several phone calls, Richardson agreed to meet Campbell, Wheeler and Murray at Murray's grandfather's home in Gary. When they got there, Richardson called again and told them to meet him at Bennigan's restaurant, 500 E. 5th Ave. in Gary.
The men found Richardson's truck in the parking lot and parked next to it, police said. Richardson was seen sitting on the driver's side in the back seat, holding Eboni.
Campbell told police he was walking up to the truck, heard two gunshots and saw a flash from inside. Murray opened the back door and discovered that Richardson had shot himself in the head.
Wheeler opened the door on the other side, police said, and Eboni, who had a gunshot wound in her chest, fell into his arms. Wheeler took her, got back into the car he had arrived in, and tried to drive to the hospital with Murray. Campbell got into Richardson's truck to drive there, as well.
Police said the car carrying Eboni broke down at 4th Avenue and Monroe Street, and Campbell had to pick the men and the baby up on the way to the hospital.
Members of Eboni's family could not be reached Friday.
Reggie Johnson, Hill's neighbor, said Eboni was a happy baby who liked to dress up for church and had joined his grandchildren to play outside less than a month ago.
"They were all out here playing with the bubbles," Johnson said.
He described Hill as a "work-aholic" who took care of her grandmother. He said he never noticed a problem between her and Richardson.
"He loved that baby," Johnson said.
Contact Jon Seidel at 648-3068 or email@example.com.